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Ask Bob Brewer: Food Pairings, Adding Body to Beer

Posted by at 9:11 pm | Category: Ask Bob Brewer 0

Remco: What kind of food or flavors go best with Brekle’s Brown?

Anchor Porter and fresh oysters? You bet.

Bob: When pairing food and beer, the standard thinking is to either match intensities, complement one another, or offer an interesting contrast. IPA with sharp cheese, porter with robust meats or BBQ, wheat beer or pilsner with lighter fare – these are examples of matched intensities.

The fun part of this is that the same beer can often be used to different ends. Anchor Porter with oysters, as well as with BBQ, for one. Anchor Steam with seafood, as well as with seasoned poultry, is another.

For Brekle’s Brown Ale, I think that “medium” meat dishes work best. Think roast beef, pork, maybe chicken. Brekle’s has a refreshing, medium- to full-bodied character with a slightly tangy finish that cuts through meaty or slightly fatty flavors. Certainly nothing too spicy. Burger and fries. Meatloaf and gravy. American diner food. On the other side, there’s always a Santa Fe salad with blackened chicken for that complementary experience. Brown ales have a wide range. Don’t be afraid to experiment! Hmm, it’s almost lunchtime here. All this talk about food…


Blake: What’s your opinion of using Maltodextrin vs. Carapils to add body in a beer?

Bob: For those of you who aren’t in the brewing industry or aren’t homebrewers, I have to first explain what we are talking about here.

Maltodextrin is a commercially produced substance, manufactured in a powder form, that is added to beer to increase the level of dextrins. Dextrins are compounds that are present in the malt. They are non-fermentable, flavorless, colorless, and non-caloric, but contribute to the body of the beer, as well as its mouthfeel and head retention.

Carapils® is a brand-name malt that has been specially malted and kilned to produce higher dextrin content than usual. The use of either will give the same results. The difference being that Carapils must be included in the malt bill, typically around 5% of the total, and maltodextrin can be added without any adjustment to the recipe.

At this point, I have to say that Anchor does not use either product in any of our craft beers so I am unqualified to render an opinion. I defer to my homebrewing friends who tell me that bumping up the dextrin helps their beers that are thin-bodied to be more drinkable, especially stouts and porters. The purists among them disdain maltodextrin as an “additive,” even though they will use Carapils because it is a form of malted barley.


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